FJ80: What is the "best" year model to buy? (1 Viewer)

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Apr 26, 2009
Houston, TX
I am in the market for an 80 Series. I used to own a 1994 with electric lockers, but had to sell when I went back to school. I am out now and want to purchase one to put on the trail. I have no intention to keep it stock or "comfortable." I already have a daily driver and the 80 will just be for fun. My question concerns the "best" year model 80 to buy. Obviously the later models have more creature comforts, bigger engines and ABS with the occasional electrical locking differentials thrown in for good measure, but if I am going to keep it offroad I don't need ABS or creature comforts. I have found several 91-92 year models that I can pick up for cheap that would give me a good place to start. I can swap the engine and tranny out as I get the time and the cash, add suspension and ARBs and build it up, but it is worth going after the 93-97 year models that have the extra beef under the hood and the possibility of lockers already installed. Is it better to pay now or pay later I guess is my question. Has anyone experienced heartburn or regret either way? Are the early model 80 series just as good, or are the late models worth the extra money up front? I appreciate everyone's input. Rusty:ban:
Just keep your eyes open on a well maintained 80 and go with it :) If it happens to be a 91 so be it, if its 97 so be it.

I dont think you can go wrong between the years, long as you take the time to find one with good maintenance and some of those "i want this in my truck" type thing. :D
Having done the locker retro thing if you are thinking you may want any of the things you mention in the future buy a truck with them on it already. It will be less expensive and save your money for bumpers, lifts and other mods.
I have two 92 FJ80's I would like to get a newer 94-97. :D
i mean, realistically, the answer to your question is 1997. though many people like their respective years for good reasons
If your going with fzj80's why not a 93?
If you ask 6 guys on MUD what the best year 80 series is you'll get 7 different anwsers.

You already know the differences. Go drive a few and make up your own mind. There are some great deals out there if you're willing to wait and search in various areas of the country. Also, this site has a great classified section.

As a rule, try and get the newest rig you can and one that has a decent maintenance history. You can't go wrong with any 80 series.
I passed on a clean 97 to buy a clean 94. The Head gasket blew two weeks later.

Without a doubt, I'd buy a 95-97 with the OBD-II and other little things before an OBD I vehicle. Just my opinion after dealing with a full engine rebuild with a supercharger on a non OBD-II truck.
If you ask 6 different people they will say they wish they bought a 97...LX for the pimpin' points :flipoff2:
Also, FWIW 95'-97' came airbag equipped which may or may not be important to you...

Slee's site does a great job of showing what changed per model year:

80 Series Land Cruiser - Front Bumper
If I had my choice I would get a 97!!! But I found a 93 with all the equipment I wanted on it and it was a :smokin: deal!

I wouldn't go below a 93 unless it was really built! But the main thing IMO is to make sure it has the lockers, full float rear, 4 wheel disc ect!!!

They are all about the same price so why settle for anything less?!?!?!:grinpimp:
I've heard from many sources that the 96s are the way to go. My uncle has a 96, and I'm pretty impressed. It's entirely stock, except for the foglights, and has a very zippy engine and factory lockers, not to mention the antenna actually works. Drool drool.
Even if it's primarily a trail rig, I wouldn't sacrifice the airbag. If you need further proof, search for the thread showing the remains of IdahoDoug's brother's FZJ 80.
Any of them?:)

Considering your criteria, I think an FJZ80 with lockers is a no-brainer. Why retrofit air-lockers when you can get the factory ones?

Personally, I love my FJ80 for everything it DOESN'T have. The 3FE is adequate and simple with no real head-gasket worries. It has rugged carpet and cloth interior, and only the features I really need (power windows, locks, A/C, cruise). There's no extra stuff like ABS or airbags that can cause trouble. For my purposes, it's perfect. If I wanted a trail rig (lockers) or family wagon (airbags, more civilized drivetrain) I would have looked for an FJZ80.

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